Interim DFCS director receptive to local board

Thu, 07/10/2008 - 4:07pm
By: Ben Nelms

It was as if a new day had dawned July 10 as Fayette County Dept. of Family & Children’s Services (DFCS) board members heard from new interim Director Bobby Cagle, the state DFCS Family Services Director temporarily filling the position left vacant after former Director Mary Davis was “reassigned” in June.

Cagle seemed more aligned with the views of board members than anything they had experienced from any state DFCS administrator in recent months.

The newly implemented statewide Performance Pyramid plan was a topic of discussion at the July 10 meeting.

The pyramid is based on desirable outcomes where 11 percent of referrals are unsubstantiated and closed, 13 percent are substantiated and remain open, 15 are substantiated and closed, 15 percent are screened-out and 45 percent are diverted for various services through the DFCS system or to private providers.

“The parameters are set around numbers and we don’t want to be driven by numbers,” said board Chairman Andy Carden, with comments reminiscent of the board’s controversial May 22 letter to Region 16 and Clayton County DFCS Director Cathy Ratti, in which the board cited strong concerns over recent screening and intake procedure decisions that overseen by Clayton County DFCS staff and said to the based on the Performance Pyramid.

Cagle agreed. His statement sounded as if it were a reversal of the impression Fayette board members had heard in recent months, prompting the May 22 letter and a recent in-service for board members by state DFCS officials.

“The pyramid is a tool for analysis,” Cagle said. “If it’s upside down I’ll want to know why, but no tool is going to direct me away from what’s best for a child.”

Cagle also noted the impressive contribution by Fayette FACTOR in meeting the needs of local children and families.

Board member and city of Atlanta attorney Angela Hinton Fonda surfaced another concern about the statewide Performance Pyramid. Hinton Fonda said she had spoken with members of other boards around the state and had been told that some felt pressured into conforming to the percentage categories contained in it.

“We need to keep an eye toward service to children and not use the pyramid as a battering ram,” she said.

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Submitted by wheeljc on Fri, 07/11/2008 - 9:04am.

.....OR, is Fayette merely marching in place?

Submitted by OneWhoKnows on Fri, 07/11/2008 - 11:35pm.

It would be poor form for the Board not to give the new guy a chance to do right. All the parties involved understand each others' concerns and capabilities. So, I would assume that the Board is trying to be fair but keeping a watchful eye. Cool

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